7 places to see big game, outside of Africa

JENNIFER POLLAND
Last updated 10:25 30/09/2013

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People dream of seeing the Big Five - lions, elephants, buffalo, leopards, and rhinoceros - in one of Africa's incredible national parks, but it's an expensive and time consuming trip that's not always feasible.

Fortunately, there are plenty of other places to see big game outside of Africa.

India has tigers, Brazil has jaguars, and the US has bears, wolves, bison, and more.

Here are the best places to go on safari that are not in Africa.

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is considered one of the best safari destinations outside of Africa.

The Southeast Asian country has its own 'Big Five': Asian elephants, leopards, sloth bears, blue whales and sperm whales.

Yala National Park is supposed to have the highest leopard density in the world, while herds of Asian elephants make their home in Udawalawe National Park.

Several tour operators also organise trips through the Indian Ocean to spot blue whales.

The best time of year to go to Sri Lanka is January to April, during the dry season.

Brazil

From the dense Amazon jungle to the wetlands of the Pantanal, Brazil is teeming with wildlife.

The country also has its own 'Big Five': Brazilian tapirs, giant anteaters, giant river otters, maned wolves, and jaguars.

Many of these animals are difficult to spot, but if you head to the right region, you'll have a good chance of seeing them.

The Pantanal region, the world's largest wetland, is probably your best bet, as it's home to jaguars, giant otters, macaws, pumas, and giant anteaters. Mato Grosso, which is home to maned wolves, river otters, and countless species of birds, is another good wildlife viewing region.

The best time of year to visit is during the drier months of June-October, when the Jaguars are easiest to spot on safari.

India

You won't find lions or hyenas in India, but you will find tigers, elephants, one-horned rhinos, and more.

There are over 80 national parks in India.

One of the best places to see one-horned rhinos is in the northern state of Assam in Kaziranga National Park, which has over 1,600 Indian one-horned rhinos, as well as elephants, swamp deer and birds.

The state of Madhya Pradesh in central India is home to several national parks, including Kanha National Park, which served as the inspiration for Rudyard Kipling's 'The Jungle Book,' and Bandhavgarh National Park, a remote park which is one of the few places where you have a good chance of seeing tigers.

In Kerala, in southern India, the Periyar Tiger Reserve is home to tigers, elephants, leopards, giant squirrels, and dozens of bird species, including the elusive Kingfisher.

It's best to avoid visiting India during the monsoon, from June to September.

USA

The US is one of the largest and most beautiful countries in the world.

It has almost 60 national parks, which are teeming with wildlife.

Grizzlies make their home in Alaska's Denali National Park, coyotes abound in Colorado's Rocky Mountain National Park, alligators and crocodiles live in Florida's Everglades, and wolves, elk, bison, bears, deer, and moose call Yellowstone National Park home, just to name a few.

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Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

Ever since Charles Darwin discovered and studied countless species in the Galapagos Islands, it has been known as an eco-friendly destination filled with incredible animals.

There are giant sea turtles, sea lions, hammerhead sharks, bottle nose dolphins, iguanas, and more.

The only way to get around is by boat and dozens of tour operators offer tours of the region.

The peak season lasts from mid-June through early September and from mid-December through mid-January, but there's really no bad time to visit.

Singapore

Ok, so it's not a real safari out in the wild, but Singapore's Night Safari, the 'world's first safari park for nocturnal animals',  offers a unique way to see animals' behaviour at night.

The park has over 2,500 different species of animals from all over the world, including leopards, lions, and tapirs, all of which are enclosed in their own habitats (much like a zoo).

Visitors can either take a tram or walk around the park. Tickets cost US$35 ($42) per adult.

Nepal

The Nepalese jungle, known as the Terai, is a subtropical forest that's chock full of rhinos, elephants, and more.

Explore Royal Chitwan National Park and look for animals either on elephant back, canoe, four-wheel drive vehicle, or on foot. The park is home to the Royal Bengal tiger, leopards, one-horned rhinoceros, deer, wild boar, bison, monkeys, and sloths.

Visit during the dry season from late September to early December, when the views are clearest.

- Business Insider Australia

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